MALLORCA, Spain - Caroline Garcia capped a near-perfect transition from clay courts to grass with her second title of 2016, easing past Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3, 6-4, to win the inaugural Mallorca Open.
"I'm glad to win any tournament; it doesn't matter what surface!" a giggling Garcia told press after the match.
"When I arrived here, it was my first tournament on grass this year, so I wasn't expecting to go this far or win the trophy. It's a great achievement after a long and diffcult week, so I'm happy to be the winner."
The Frenchwoman had always proven quite adept on clay, following up her title run at the Internationaux de Strasbourg with a maiden Grand Slam crown in women's doubles with countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic. But success on grass had hitherto proven far more elusive, with the youngster pointing to a lack of comfort on the often slippery surface.
"For now, this is my best season; when you win your first title, you never know if you'll win another. It was a dream to win my first, and now I have three, plus the French Open in doubles. The work I'm doing with my team is definitely paying off."
That all changed this week in sunny Mallorca, where the No.6 moved effortlessly about the court to defeat a pair of former Wimbledon semifinalists in Ana Ivanovic and Kirsten Flipkens to capture her first grass court title on Sunday. Across the net was Sevastova, who was once ranked No.36 in the world before injuries and illnesses forced her to briefly retire. Back on court since early 2015, the Latvian has rocketed back up the rankings, returning to the Top 100 earlier this year.
But it wasn't enough to overcome Garcia, who won 74% of ponts behind her first serve and broke serve four times in the 85-minute final.
"After so many emotions, it's hard to remember the match. I remember match point because it was very long! There were a lot of rallies and it was a very intense match; I had to return very well because she used the serve to start aggressively. It was probably the best I played all week, trying to be aggressive and taking the opportunities when they came, so I'm happy with the way I played today."
With her second title of the season under her belt, the French star moves back into the Top 32, helping her to become the new French No.1 and earn a seed at the upcoming Wimbledon Championships.
"It's good, but I don't play tennis to be No.1 in my country. It's a good achievement but I want to go higher and higher. It's work from every day and every week, and I'm happier that I've won a title to help bring up my ranking. My goal is to be better and better each week, so it gives me a lot of motivation to continue with the hard work.
"It's always very difficult as you're starting at a Grand Slam, and it gives me a lot of confidence to head to Wimbledon with a title. I'd never played on grass with a lot of pleasure, but I think this week it changed a lot. Grass is a very difficult surface for everyone, but now that I've won one, maybe I'm a favorite [at Wimbledon], but a far-away favorite! I'll try my best to play as I played here, and I'll need to be at 100%, and very efficient."